3 thoughts on “Climate Smart

  1. I wish to commend The Current for publishing such valuable, insightful articles concerning Climate Smart impacts and adaptation and mitigation strategies.

    A large part of our Climate Smart and stormwater protection programs involves public education. Private property accounts for a sizable portion of the town’s land and having both residential and commercial environmental stewards is key to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and the carbon footprint.

    The green/energy-efficient renovation of the Town Hall Complex (the 1867 Town Hall and its annex, the former Dahlia home) is an essential part of our program. While not large from an overall impact, it provides a role model that we hope others in town will follow.

    While your article mentioned a number of steps we are taking to account for and protect our drinking water, we will also look into ways to improve air quality through emission reductions and trees and plantings known for high-oxygen output. One idea here is to encourage plant sales and nurseries to offer them.

    We have begun and will continue to monitor development not just along the riverfront but also near inland waterways to ensure flood mitigation practices are achieved to reduce damage from storm surges. We can also develop educational strategies to provide ways to mitigate damage to structures and contents already below the flood-base-level elevation established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through Army Corps of Engineers evaluations and recommendations.

    Our Climate Smart program has more than 70 volunteers, not to mention the 10 members working on the Comprehensive Plan update and the Highway Department workers who are assisting in water-quality inspections and improvements. This is a good start toward a large task force capable of tackling multiple projects at once.
    We are also ready to launch our Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, which will replace conventional energy production (oil, coal, gas, etc.) with renewable green energy (hydro, wind, solar). We will establish a conservation program to help residents reduce their energy needs.

    Philipstown can be example of a town unified over and understanding of our changing environment and the need to face it now. If we wait, we end up with fewer choices later.

    Leonard is a member of the Philipstown Town Board.

  2. Thank you for your series. Far too many of the media and our political leaders are silent when it comes to addressing climate change, one of our most pressing issues.

    You are right to say this is a legacy issue. We are leaving this earth in much worse shape for our children and grandchildren. That is why I am urging local school boards to speak out and declare climate change a children’s issue.

    Schools are public institutions charged with the welfare of children. They can help break the silence and deepen their impact by promoting a variety of mitigation actions. This can include creating a committee of stakeholders to develop a climate-action plan; reducing greenhouse-gas emissions through buildings and grounds, low- or zero-emissions bus fleets, recycling, composting and purchasing clean energy; and incorporating climate science, climate justice and climate action into the curriculum.

    I ask local school districts to consider what legacy we are leaving for the children. If not them, who?

  3. Contrary to popular opinion, all-electric vehicles do not represent an overall improvement in terms of a reduction of greenhouse or other gas emissions. All the electric vehicles do is relocate the various types pollution from the vehicle’s exhaust pipe to the sources of the electricity, and generally this means fossil fuel-based power plants, and to the sources of the vehicle component’s manufacture, typically overseas, and wherever the minerals for its types of high-performance batteries are mined and refined. Demand for these rare (and rare-earths on the periodic chart) minerals threatens to outstrip supply, and indirectly this results in military conflicts and demands for extra-territorial controls in hitherto remote and undeveloped parts of the world such as Afghanistan and North Korea.

    Electric vehicles can and do reduce air pollution specifically in areas of high vehicle density, including cities and along transportation corridors.

    In the past the liberties and prerogatives of the wealthy of the region served to limit growth and overdevelopment in the town, and in the region. It still does to some extent counterbalance the general and systemic imperatives towards unplanned economic growth. But with the skyrocketing cost of living in and near NYC, where most of the better jobs are located, commuting and commuting times, traffic, and air and noise pollution are noticeably increasing. Much of this traffic is “cross-town”, not into or within but thru towns and counties, particularly including Philipstown.

    This increase in traffic is what’s fueling most of the local growth in energy usage, air pollution, and carbon emissions.

    I would think a local climate smart program would focus on improving public transportation options within and thru the town. The development and maintenance of safe bicycle and pedestrian lanes and pathways, and various advantages however they might accrue to carpooling would be a major component of that. Any type of investment in local infrastructure, or reconsideration or fine-tuning of policies, which can facilitate a limitation or even a reduction in the use of automobiles should be considered.

    On the other hand, the more relatively desirable the region becomes, and as the local political stewardship improves, the greater will be the volume of visitors and new residents, counterbalancing much of the effort. This effect is already much in evidence.